The quake occurred around 9.20 pm (1320 GMT) in a remote region of Sichuan province not far from the site of a massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake in 2008 that left 87,000 people dead or missing.
The epicentre of Tuesday's quake was 284 kilometres (176 miles) north of the provincial capital Chengdu and struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, the USGS said.
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